The Boston Dream Center is a new and budding ministry that is already having a huge impact to help connect Boston’s Christian community to the city. This week, we share Sheila Donegan’s story of how God called her back to Boston and helped this dream come to fruition.
In 2012, Sheila Donegan, an Ordained Minister with the Foursquare Church, knew something was very different. She had the sense that things were changing, so in January she began fasting and praying to seek clarity from God on this leading. Sheila began to have the sense that she would be moving. Since she had previously been a missionary, she naturally assumed that God was leading her on a missions trip to another country.
At the beginning of February, God posed a question very clearly to her heart, “Will you move to Boston?” Sheila’s first thought was – “Boston?” She was totally surprised and had not seen that coming at all. Sheila had been born and raised in Massachusetts, just about 10 miles north of Boston. She had moved away when she was 16 with her family and hadn’t lived there for more than 30 years. The thought of moving back to Boston was crazy! Yes. But oh so clearly God.
Saying yes to the call and to the leading of God to take nothing for the journey, she gave away all she had and arrived back home to Boston on May 15, 2012, with only one small suitcase.
The last two and a half years were a journey indeed…there were times of great faith, miracles, as well as times of trials and testing. But through it all there was the leading of the Holy Spirit, step by step laying out the path. From the beginning, Sheila knew that this would be an urban outreach-focused ministry, dedicated to helping those who would need it most.
In 2013, the ministry took the shape of Freedom Boston with Christ-centered classes and groups dedicated to healing, restoration and recovery ministry. As Journey of Forgiveness and Live.Life.Free groups went into full swing that fall, immediately there was evidence of transformed lives and hope restored in those attending the groups.
Through much prayer, over the past 2 years, the vision grew and ministries were added. In the spring of 2014, a small team of people with the same mind and heart joined Sheila on this journey. Sheila had previously lived and served with the L.A. Dream Center in California, so she knew that a connection to the Dream Center had been a possibility from the beginning. So with the addition of the team, and a sense of God’s timing, in the August of 2014, the Boston Dream Center was launched!
One of the most significant elements of the vision was to build and develop united partnership with churches and organizations in Boston with outreaches to the city of Boston, as well as classes and groups for healing, restoration and recovery.
Many churches don’t have the resources, staff or finances to support these areas of ministry, so the Boston Dream Center helps to enable churches to have the outreach experience or attend classes and groups that will be beneficial to them, without the church carrying the burden of the ministry.
Currently, the Boston Dream Center offers classes at Suffolk County Jail and the New England Center for Homeless Vetrans. Additionally, on December 1st, the Dream Center served dinner at the New England Center for Homeless Vetrans and will be giving away 150 backpacks to homeless friends on Christmas Eve on Boston Common.
Additionally, the Boston Dream Center is delighted to be part of the Dream Center network of Los Angeles, California, joining with other Dream Centers around the nation with a similar heart to help those most in need in our communities.
By the end of this year, the Boston Dream Center will have impacted the lives of nearly 500 people with the love of Christ in a personal, tangible way. May God continue to lead, guide and direct us by His Spirit and may we always have his heart to reach those within our reach in the city of Boston.